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Divorce Lawyer Videos

Information and advice on divorce & family law 

Parental responsibility explained

What is parental responsibility? It’s a collection of all the rights and responsibilities and duties that you have as a parent. Parental responsibility can include things such as having the right to attend parents evening, being able to give medical consent if your child had an accident whilst in your care, having the right to take the child out of the jurisdiction so if you wanted to go away on holiday abroad somewhere.

A lot of people seem to think that they automatically have parental responsibility which isn’t always the case.  If you are mother then you will always have parental responsibility for your child but if you are father then the position can be somewhat different. If you are married at the time of your child’s birth then you will have parental responsibility and if your child was born after December 2003 and you are on the birth certificate then you will have parental responsibility but if you are not on the birth certificate for whatever reason, then you don’t have parental responsibility and unless mother is prepared to agree to you having parental responsibility or you apply for an order then there is no other way you can get parental responsibility.  

People get confused about what custody, contact, access, residence is and how parental responsibility may impact upon those four things. The simple fact is that they don’t actually exist anymore. What we have now is child arrangements orders but if you don’t have parental responsibility that doesn’t stop you from being able to see your child, it’s not a pre requisite at all and in fact if you don’t have parental responsibility then you can obtain parental responsibility by having an order that your children live with you rather than with another partner. So, for example if you are father, you’re not on the birth certificate, and something happens to mother and the children have to live with you if the Court makes an Order then you will have parental responsibility for the duration that the children are with you.

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